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ZabaCreated in Epworth's own studio it is undoubtedly among this year's most striking debuts. The title, lifted from Dave's favorite childhood story, comes from
William Steig's The Zabajaba Jungle. Steig's evocation of childhood adventure, exoticism and discovery is brilliantly fresh. ZABA is one complete beast
and a journey you will get most from if you immerse yourself fully and listen from start to finish. The sound of the record, Dave says, is like a backdrop
of man-made wilderness...
Influenced by the exploratory, New World scenarios of Apocalypse Now, The Island of Dr Moreau, Heart of Darkness, The African Queen and Mosquito
Coast, ZABA's songs tackle the humanization of nature and human interference with nature. Even now a lot of my favorite books are those books that I
grew up with, he says. Things like Zabajaba, like Roald Dahl, like Wind in the Willows. I suppose all I've been doing is using those little creatures and
animals to cover up what I really meant, to disguise who and what I was really talking about.
Inspired by Kanye West and Charles Darwin, Nina Simone and the Velvet Underground, ZABA is a rich and textured work, a very special record indeed.
With Dave producing and Epworth as A&R and mentor, the studio became their home and the band were free to record, improvise and write at their own
speed, making their sound a bigger, brighter, heavier and more intense experience than ever before.
The first single, Gooey is wobbly and child-like, a hymn to naivety. There's a confidence in the way children act, Dave says. I was trying to push that
confidence into the beat. Walla-Walla goes back to Dave's love of Timbaland and Dr Dre, while Intruxx, initially the introduction to the entire record,
summarizes this entire new world you're entering.1. Flip
2. Black Mambo
5. Walla Walla
10. Cocao Hooves
11. JDNT$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
How To Be A Human BeingHow To Be A Human Being is a scrapbook of the band's time spent on the road, gathering memories and perceptions of different types of people from all around the world.1. Life Itself
3. Season 2 Episode 3
4. Pork Soda
5. Mama's Gun
6. Cane Shuga
7. The Other Side Of Paradise
8. Take A Slice
9. Poplar St
10. Agnes$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
My Head Is An AnimalOf Monsters and Men is an amiable group of day dreamers who craft folkie pop songs. With the Icelandic group's bright, trumpeting single Little Talks winning over one blog at a time, Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir and her bandmates (co-singer/guitarist Ragnar Raggi Þórhallsson, guitarist Brynjar Leifsson, drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, piano/accordion player Árni Guðjónsson, and bassist Kristján Páll Kristjánsson) are well on their way to becoming citizens of the world.
Nanna, who began as the acoustic act Songbird, recruited extra hands to bolster her sound for a solo show. She liked how her vocals commingled with Raggi's, so they started writing songs together and in 2010 morphed into Of Monsters and Men. As victors of 2010's Músiktilraunir, the new group earned a slot on the influential Iceland Airwaves festival later that year, followed by Seattle's radio station KEXP posting Little Talks from a Living Room Session filmed there, setting the telltale ripple effect in motion. By the summer of 2011 Little Talks hit #1 in the band's native country, and people around the world seemed to be listening to us, marvels Raggi. The band was asked to perform again at Iceland Airwaves 2011, where KEXP then anointed the group as easily the most buzzed about band.
Though their reach is growing broader, the group's appeal has remained distinct. Their music is as fantastical as it is pretty. For inspiration, they often reference random stories they've read. The chanting, tribal Six Weeks was inspired by the true tale of American frontiersman Hugh Glass, seemingly left for dead after a bear attack. As for the swelling, epic From Finner, it's about a whale that has a house on its back says Raggi on which people travel across the ocean, exploring different places and having adventures. Little Talks, explores loneliness and insanity, while Love Love Love ruefully ruminates on heartbreak. If you listen to the lyrics, they're not as uplifting, he says. But our music is meant to be fun to sing along to.
Their full-length debut, My Head Is an Animal immediately reached #1 in their native Iceland and will now see its worldwide release via Universal Records. The album features production by Of Monsters and Men, Aron Amaarsson and Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, Cold War Kids) while Craig Silvey (Florence + The Machine, Arcade Fire) handled mixing duties. My Head Is An Animal sounds like a dream and its pure bliss to listen to!1. Dirty Paws
2. King and Lionheart
3. Mountain Sound
4. Slow and Steady
5. From Finner
6. Little Talks
7. Six Weeks
8. Love Love Love
9. Your Bones
12. Yellow Light$34.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Animals As Leaders (Encore Edition) (Awaiting Repress)Animals as Leaders is the debut album by progressive metal group Animals as Leaders, originally released on April 28, 2009 by Prosthetic Records. This Encore Edition reissue contains three bonus tracks (Wave of Babies, Kalimba, Orea [Demo]), 3D glasses, and enhanced artwork.1. Tempting Time
3. Throroughly At Home
4. On Impulse
6. Behaving Badly
7. The Price Of Everything And The Value Of Nothing
10. Point To Point
11. Modern Meat
12. Song Of Solomon
13. Wave Of Babies
15. Orea (Demo)$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Sketches (Pre-Order)Classically trained pianist, violinist, producer, and composer, Poppy Ackroyd turned heads in the neo-classical world with her previous works Escapement and Feathers, as well as her involvement in Hidden Orchestra (Tru Thoughts). Advocated by giants of the genre, Hauschka and Nils Frahm, the unique musician has returned with a mini-album to be released on Bjork's label One Little Indian Records.
The songs serve to reintroduce listeners to Ackroyd's most stunning pieces from her previous albums, all of which have been reworked into 'acoustic' solo piano arrangements alongside four brand new unheard pieces, which offer a taste of a new forthcoming record.
The record, aptly named Sketches, due to its stripped down nature, is bejeweled by thematic undercurrents - birds are the inspiration for three of the tracks, which are to be released together as the lead singles from the album.
'Birdwoman' and 'Glass Sea' feature field recordings of birds and the ocean, recorded on Brighton Beach and North Rona respectively. 'Feathers' is the title track of my second album Feathers says Ackroyd, discussing the theme of birds.
'Feathers' is a piece about hope - 'Hope is the thing with Feathers' (Emily Dickinson), 'Birdwoman' is a reworking of a piece I originally wrote as a soundtrack to a silent film based on a Siberian folk tale, and 'Glass Sea' attempts to capture the feel of a boat trip I took to the remote islands of North Rona and Sula Sgeir, North of the Outer Hebrides. The ocean was unusually still, reflecting the sky like a sheet of glass, but the sky became busy with birds as we approached the islands.
Ackroyd is a keen collaborator, having created soundtracks for film, dance, physical theater and radio. The artist won a BAFTA for an animation soundtrack that she wrote and performed in 2015. Through studying contemporary classical piano works and listening to electronic music, Ackroyd developed a unique compositional style, using contemporary pianistic ideas whilst also inhabiting the world of sound beyond the keyboard, using unconventional techniques to 'play' other parts of the instruments as well.
Talking about the recording of Sketches, Ackroyd said: The songs were recorded just outside of Brighton at Retreat Studios, close to the sea on the edge of the village, surrounded by hills, fields, and wildlife. As if by magic, it began to rain just before I began to record the track 'Rain', and ended shortly after I finished. You can hear the rain build and then die away with the music on the finished piece.
I have loved creating this solo piano album. There are normally all these layers that I use to create a world of sound, that I love to build and sculpt, but there is something really special about communicating simply through the instrument alone. With other layers there is always something to hide behind, with only the piano you can just focus on your technique and expression, everything feels very audible and exposed and that is very exciting, especially in a live context.1. Resolve
8. Glass Sea
10. Trains$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now